How’s the city budget faring? It’s the GREEN MOUSE with NAWBANY WEEK IN REVIEW for 10 April.

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Is the city of New Albany maintaining full feather-bedded municipal employment during the pandemic shutdown?

As noted often in the past, the city’s budget has ballooned during the Gahan tenure, with the result being a sort of ongoing Ponzi scheme to keep budgetary snapshots in alignment for the purpose of keeping the state’s regulatory eyes safely averted.

But now …

Effects of pandemic will slam state, local tax receipts, by Lindsey Erdody and Samm Quinn (Indianapolis Business Journal)

Indiana state and local governments are set to lose tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue—maybe hundreds of millions—as the COVID-19 pandemic closes restaurants, stores and casinos and companies begin laying off workers.

The drop in sales, income and gambling tax revenue could wreak havoc on government budgets, first at the state level and later for cities and counties, just as the demand for government assistance like Medicaid is expected to ramp up.

And it’s too soon to know just how bad the fiscal hit will be.

“Obviously, we’re in uncharted territory here,” said Chris Watts, president of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, which tracks state tax and budget issues …

Very little about Mayor Jeff Gahan’s style of governance is genuinely transparent, making this the perfect time for him to hunker with the inner circle to run the city without interference from elected officials.

Noting that a full-time communications director still is receiving paychecks (why?), Gahan has chosen to issue his latest “state of the city” message via the city clerk’s council cancellation notice, in an e-mail with limited range but an obvious power hoarder’s intent.

Due to the continuing public health emergency, Governor Holcomb’s Executive Orders 20-04 and 20-09, as well as guidance from Indiana’s Public Access Counselor, the New Albany Common Council meeting regularly scheduled for April 16th, 2020 is cancelled.

Council President Bob Caesar reports that he has been in contact with city officials regarding any needs they may have. The New Albany Police and Fire Departments state that they are in good shape and have no immediate needs requiring council attention at this time. The Controller likewise conveyed that the city’s finances are in good condition.

The Council is able to meet if the need arises, but will continue to limit meetings during this public health emergency as public access is diminished.

“Rosie, you’re all right.”

Yes, the usual suspects vouch for themselves, without the slightest measure of verification from citizens, journalists or those crickets chirping from the bowels of the Reisz Mahal.

Caesar remains as unspeakably dull as a bowel of chilled steel-cut oats, but he — and his fellow sycophantic DemoDisneyDixiecrats — might take a few minutes from quarantine time to ponder the way Gahan quickly will shift the blame for the budgetary pain from himself to them once the time for reckoning arrives.

Thus far during these pandemic weeks, principled dissent has been hard to find in Nawbanian political circles with a notable and laudable exception, this being newly elected 5th district councilman Joshua Turner.

Once again, Gahan’s well-lubricated elites are being lapped by Jeffersonville. The same local left-leaners who pine to become Kentuckians and hop aboard the Andy Beshear Express might not be able to appreciate the irony of being better off if their mayor was Mike Moore, a Republican.

The following appeared on CM Turner’s Facebook “council account.”

City Council President Bob Caesar has decided to cancel our City Council meeting for Thursday 16 April 2020. It is disingenuous to twist the Governor’s Order to stop meetings. In reality, it is the opposite, his Order has enabled to carry on meetings electronically.

This is the third city council meeting that has been cancelled. Jeffersonville, Clarksville, Floyd County, Greenville, and even New Albany Redevelopment Commission have all had virtual meetings set up. I even had a Zoom meeting with constituents and members of Floyd County EMA last Saturday.

Today, I feel the need to talk about Transparency.

Today, transparency is easier and more accessible than ever before, for most of us we can even enjoy it from the comfort of our own homes. I believe transparency in times of crisis is one of our most vital missions. Keeping the people informed and safe should be at the top of all our agendas.

Transparency equals trust.

We need to be able to trust that our city officials will be accessible to the public now more than ever. We can continue with our regularly scheduled meetings not only as a way to keep the flow of information going but as a show of strength and solidarity that we can work together.

Non-transparent behavior can instill a sense of confusion in our community.

  • By leaving us in darkness.
  • By ignoring our voices.
  • By choosing who wins and who loses behind closed doors without public input.

Now is time to understand exactly how important transparency is and how it can affect us on the local level if we are left unprepared.

As you all know there were several items that I requested and items that are coming before the council that need to be discussed all of which are below. All which President Caesar feels are unworthy of having a meeting to discuss.

1. I would like to have both the police and fire chiefs present to:

  • a. Give a report to the council about their department’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including any impact on their budget.
  • b. Detail plans for ensuring the ongoing readiness of both departments and for protecting the health and safety of officers and firefighters. Indianapolis PD is being hit hard but the pandemic.
  • c. Answer questions from the council.

2. I would like to have the controller present to provide a report on the budget implications of the pandemic, including additional costs and anticipated revenue issues. In addition, I would like for the controller to answer questions from the council.

3. Third reading for appropriation of riverboat funds to Catalyst Rescue Mission

4. The annual TIF report which was approved by Redevelopment over their Zoom meeting Tuesday.

These four items are essential. The legislative and fiscal body of New Albany meeting regularly is essential. (Not meeting) is unacceptable.

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